The Sojourners by T.L. Hughes Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

One young man’s adventure seeking to fulfill lifelong dreams turns into a journey of self discovery in author T.L. Hughes novel The Sojourners. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

When Chasing a Dream Leads Deeper Within……

Picking up where Searching for Paradise left off, Mike Hogan, Decky Brady, and Luke Coppens start off in London, still chasing and believing their Hollywood dreams of working in the music video business. But after only a few days into the trip, the friends quickly abandon their efforts and put new plans into place. 

On his own developing journey and through encounters with other travelers and new friends, Mike Hogan experiences the love of finding oneself again. With vivid imagery, poetry and references to great songs throughout, The Sojourners stands on its own as a complete work, with colorful characters and simple people who resonate with the beauty of life. This inspiring, reflective novel shows the importance of ultimate belief in ourselves, and the realization that despite our differences, deep down inside, we all share a common good.

What others are saying:

“Throughout it all, Hughes maintains a tension that transforms this meandering tale into one of complex depictions of human compassion. A charming, soulful entry into a popular (and often disappointing) genre.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Hughes gives us beautiful sentences and finely crafted imagery throughout, with a comforting cadence in his prose, rolling along like a train journey. The story offers carefree country-hopping for the armchair traveler, and each new location – bar, disco, train car, or sidewalk – serves up a vicarious thrill. The Sojourners is a beautifully written work of travel writing, which will be especially appealing to those who have yet to travel, or those who may want to rekindle the expanded horizons of traveling abroad.” Self-Publishing Review, ★★★★ 

The Review

This was an incredibly deep, emotional and thoughtful read. Filled with flowing storytelling and memorable characters throughout, the novel featured incredibly beautiful imagery used by the protagonist, describing his journey through Europe and through the inner workings of his own mind. 

The themes of dealing with loss, finding one’s purpose and discovering the meaning of your own life through travel and adventure really stuck out to me. Unlike other stories of self-discovery, this story stood out for delving into the Cold War era 1980’s, and with each new character introduced in the journey the author saw the real life struggle of topics like racism, politics and religion play out in a completely natural way.

The Verdict

Overall this was a phenomenal read. A detailed, thorough yet pleasant read, the story held the readers attention throughout and painted an image of the protagonist’s journey with such ease that it felt as if you’d lived the journey yourself. Full of humor, wit and charm, the story felt relatable and like something current day readers could draw their real life struggles from. If you haven’t yet, grab this emotionally driven novel The Sojourners by T.L. Hughes today.

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

T.L. Hughes was born in Salem, Massachusetts, and at a young age moved to Lowell, Massachusetts where he grew up, attending the local public schools through high school. After graduating from the University of Massachusetts in 1980, he headed west to California. Today, he lives in Orange County with his wife and family.

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Clarissa’s Warning by Isobel Blackthorn

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A woman’s good fortunes turn dire when her dreams of owning and restoring old ruins leads to a dangerous situation in author Isobel Blackthorn’s “Clarissa’s Warning”. Here is the synopsis.

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The Synopsis

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A lottery jackpot changes Claire Bennett’s life.

She buys an ancient stone ruin on the island of her dreams. Her mystic aunt Clarissa warns her of danger, but Claire pays no heed.

Soon after moving to the idyllic island, Claire is confronted by a mystery. As the sinister story of her home slowly uncovers, Claire enters a world of inexplicable events and ordeals. Someone or something doesn’t want her there.

But is it really a curse, or is there something else behind the events?

The Review

This was the kind of classic slow burn horror story that defines the horror/thriller genre. What starts out as a mission to fulfill a dream turns into a nightmare when Claire must struggle with the distrust of the locals, tales of an ancient curse and mysterious happenings that defy logic. The story flourished under the hopeful eyes of protagonist Claire. Peeling back the layers of this well rounded character, readers will love seeing the complex relationships with her parents, her close knit bond with her aunt Clarissa, the strength of taking a leap of faith and going after her dreams, and the struggle to merge her logical, scientific mind with the supernatural/curse nature of her new home.

The setting really brought this story home however. The Canary Islands take the center stage in this tale, an inspiration from the author’s own travels and mission to bring ancient structures on these islands back to their former glory. Themes of conserving our past, pursuing our passions and bringing the truth to light all shine through in this truly incredible horror thriller. 

The Verdict

Overall I loved this tale. The novel soars as a classic story of love, passion and a promise to protect the places that hold our civilization’s history within it. With a heavy focus on character development with light doses of horror and thriller elements, this is a story readers will thoroughly enjoy. Be sure to preorder your copy of Isobel Blackthorn’s “Clarissa’s Warning” today.

Rating: 8/10

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About the Author

Isobel Blackthorn is a prolific Australian novelist of dark psychological thrillers, mysteries and contemporary fiction. On the dark side are Twerk, The Cabin Sessions and The Legacy of Old Gran Parks. On the lighter side are AsylumThe Drago Tree and A Perfect Square, and the short story collection All Because of You. Soon to be published are three more novels: A Matter of LatitudeClarissa’s Warning and The Unlikely Occultist: A biographical novel of Alice A. Bailey.

Isobel’s writing has appeared in journals and websites around the world, including Paranoia Magazine, Mused Literary Review, Backhand Stories, Fictive Dream and On Line Opinion.

Isobel’s interests are many and varied. A humanitarian and campaigner for social justice, in 1999 Isobel founded the internationally acclaimed Ghana Link, uniting two high schools, one a relatively privileged state school located in the heart of England, the other a materially impoverished school in a remote part of the Upper Volta region of Ghana, West Africa.

Isobel has a background in Western Esotericism and she’s a qualified Astrologer. She holds a PhD from the University of Western Sydney, for her research on the works of Theosophist Alice A. Bailey, the ‘Mother of the New Age.’ After working as a teacher, market trader, and PA to a literary agent, she arrived at writing in her forties, and her stories are as diverse and intriguing as her life has been.

Isobel performs her literary works at events in a range of settings, gives workshops in creative writing, and writes book reviews. Her reviews have appeared in Shiny New Books, Sisters in Crime, Australian Women Writers, Trip Fiction and Newtown Review of Books. She talks regularly about books and writing on radio, in Australia, and on occasion in the UK and USA and Canary Islands.

British by birth, Isobel entered this world in Farnborough, Kent, as Yvonne Margaret Grimble. She has since been Yvonne Rodgers, before changing her name completely in 1996 to Isobel Schofield. After a number of years as Isobel Wightman, she is now very happily and permanently Isobel Blackthorn. Isobel has lived in England, Australia, Spain and the Canary Islands. She now lives on Australia’s southern coast with her cat, Psyche.  You can find out more about her other achievements here.

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